11 Tips on How To Organize Your Desk Like a Pro

By Indeed Editorial Team

June 25, 2021

Maintaining an organized workspace isn’t just for show, it can actually improve your productivity and allow you to focus on your day’s top priorities. In this article, we discuss the importance of having an organized desk and we share 11 easy tips to help get your desk organized today.

Related: 12 Motivational Techniques for the Workplace

Why is it important to have an organized desk?

If you’ve ever lost an urgent document that turned up buried under a pile of papers you understand the time-saving, stress-reducing benefits of keeping your desktop organized. You won’t just look more efficient, you’ll be more efficient when everything you need is at arm’s length.

Related: 7 Steps To Organize Your Paperwork and Declutter Your Desk

11 tips on how to organize your desk

Here are a few simple ways you can organize your desk and increase your efficiency:

1. Start with a clean space

Remove everything from your desktop and give the surface a good cleaning. Dust your computer, wipe down the keyboard. Note the feeling of having a clean slate to work with.

2. Sort everything on your desk

Your computer and phone have to stay but do you need a tray of binder clips and a cup with thirty pens? Sort your desk supplies into two piles: items you want to keep and items you want to throw or give away. Consider moving the supplies you don’t use every day into a desk drawer. The surface of your desk should be reserved for the daily must-haves.

3. Divide your desk

Designate a space for each essential on your desktop and be sure to return each item to its space at the end of the day. You should also assign a free space where you can review paperwork and take notes.

Related: Best Home Office Organizational Ideas

4. Consider storage options

If your desktop is the only space you have to hold office items you may want to consider obtaining additional storage. The files you reach for once a week are good examples of items to be relocated into a file cabinet. Headsets, chargers and reference books can be placed on a nearby shelf. And a bulletin board is a great space for post-its and important reminders. Organized storage spaces can be efficient time-savers just like your clean desk.

5. Tether your cables

Don’t let all your electronic cables get underfoot - literally. If there are tangled cables under your desk, they could make you trip or just cause sitting at your desk less comfortable. Invest in supplies that organize and hide those cables so you focus on your top priorities.

6. Inbox/outbox

A simple inbox/outbox tray can help you stay on top of new and looming deadlines, as well as keep track of what you’ve completed. An inbox will separate new requests from any documents already on your desktop. Just make sure to review your inbox at the end of each day so you don’t miss any last-minute urgent requests.

7. Prioritize your workflow

The only paperwork on your desktop should be relevant to projects and activities that are active. Use the Covey Time Management Matrix to determine which paperwork should remain on your desk: divide it between paperwork that's important and urgent, urgent but not necessarily important, important but not necessarily urgent, and non-urgent and not important. Anything that isn’t urgent can be relocated to a drawer, filing cabinet or shelf.

8. Add a personal touch

Even if space is limited make sure you reserve a spot for a special family photo or a keepsake that makes you smile. Personal touches can be de-stressors on a hectic day and they help to keep a healthy work-life balance in mind.

9. Keep a notebook close by

Keep a notebook on top of your desk so you can easily write reminders for yourself or add items to your to-do list. Having a notebook within reach will help you keep important pieces of information consolidated in one place.

10. Get a trash can

Put a trash can under or next to your desk so you can immediately throw away dried-up pens, notes and other items as soon as you don't need them. Even better, consider adding a small recycling bin so you can immediately discard paper or plastic items that you no longer need and separate them for recycling.

11. Reassess frequently

A clutter-free desk requires regular upkeep. In addition to sorting papers daily, scan your desk frequently to ensure everything that’s there should be there. Make a habit of straightening up your desk weekly to ensure it remains clean and organized.

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